There are numerous reports and studies about cancer prevention released on a seemingly daily basis. Often the reports can conflict with one another, with one study suggesting you eat more of vegetable A and and another report coming out a week later saying it is not effective at all! With so much conflicting advice and hundreds of opinions it’s often very hard to determine the best path to cancer prevention.
Instead of becoming wrapped up in the specifics of certain preventative measures which may or may not work, let’s take a look at the most important preventative measures which we know are effective and will help prevent cancer.
These are lifestyle changes that will without a doubt, improve your chances of avoiding cancer and will help you lead a longer and healthier life.
Have a healthy diet
One of the greatest risk factors for cancer is a poor diet. A healthy diet can help prevent cancer and should consist of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. You should eat a wide variety of all of the available fruits and vegetables, diversity in a diet in a good thing because you will be providing a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Avoid foods which are processed, high in sugar or high in fat. You should be aiming to eat foods which are close to their natural state, not foods that may have been heavily processed, and have had preservatives and colorings added. Highly processed foods often carry a greater risk of you becoming overweight as well – a known risk factor for cancer.
Only consume meat in moderation because links between meat and cancer have been demonstrated. Becoming a vegetarian will lower your chances of getting cancer, but if you wish to eat meat, treat it like a luxurious side on your plate and not the main portion of a meal.
If you consume alcohol, do it in moderation because links between alcohol and certain cancers are well known. Drink plenty of water to help the body flush out toxins.
It should be obvious by now, but some people still haven’t gotten the message – smoking causes cancer, and not just lung cancer. Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause a wide variety of cancers, from the bladder, to the cervix and kidneys. Chewing tobacco can lead to cancer of the oral cavity.
By quitting smoking you may also avoid some of the very nasty pulmonary diseases like emphysema that affect your breathing badly.
Exercise and stay at a healthy weight
Overweight people have an increased risk of breast, kidney, colon and lung cancers, among others. By staying physically fit you can reduce the risk of those cancers amd gain numerous other health benefits.
Even if it’s only a small amount of exercise it will help you stay healthy and prevent the risk of cancer – as little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise per day will help improve your physical condition and help keep your weight under control.
Get immunized against certain viruses
Some viruses have known links to cancer. One of those is Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical and genital cancers. Men and women 26 and younger can obtain the vaccine which will protect against HPV.
Hepatitis B has also been linked with liver cancer. The Hep B vaccine is highly recommended for people who work in professions where they may have contact with bodily fluids – from hospital workers to cleaners and restaurant staff. Also anyone who is sexually active and has multiple partners should also have the Hep B vaccine.
Limit sun exposure and wear protection from the sun
Skin cancer is easily preventable with some common sense measures. Avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day when damage to the skin is more likely. Use the shade and use sun protective clothing to avoid skin damage. Use plenty of sunscreen when you are outdoors, and avoid tanning beds.
By moderating your sun exposure you will dramatically lower your risk of skin cancer.
See your doctor regularly
Get general checkups on a regular basis and have your general practitioner check your overall health – your weight, your fitness, and do a blood test to make sure you are getting all of the vitamins and nutrients you need in your diet.
By maintaining good general health, you will be lowering your risk of cancer. By following these simple steps and not sweating the finer points, you will be well on your way to a longer and healthier life.